BRAZIL – The Brazilian government has suspended BRF’s poultry exports destined for the European Union, following a probe into the company over the presence of Salmonella.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Supply, and Livestock (MAPA) said it had temporarily suspended the production and sanitary certification of BRF’s poultry exports to the EU, and it expects to resolve the temporary ban in about 30 days, revealed a report by Reuters.

The food processor, BRF SA and JBS SA were at the centre of the ‘Weak Flesh’ investigation, which implicated the two companies for a fraud linked to food safety checks.

The interestingly-named “Weak Flesh” investigation uncovered convincing evidence that inspectors had accepted bribes to approve spoiled chicken meat for export. Tainted poultry can transmit the deadly salmonella bacteria, which poses a severe threat to children, pensioners, and others with compromised immune systems.

In reaction to the findings, China, Saudi Arabia, the EU, and Japan issued trade restrictions on Brazilian imported poultry, leading to lower export numbers.

After the export suspension, BRF’s shares fell to their lowest since 2011, though they erased much of that loss and were down by less than 1% in later trade, Reuters reports.

Recently, the EU drafted plans to ban meat imports from Brazil as a result of the scandal.

BRF said that the new development affects 10 out of 35 BRF plants in Brazil and that they’ll engage a meeting with the Agriculture Ministry to clarify and review the measures.

The products produced and shipped out before 16 March 2018 are allowed to be sold and can be consumed without any restriction.

“We will negotiate in an atmosphere slightly more favorable after today’s export certification suspension,” said Luiz Eduardo Rangel, head of Brazil’s food safety service.

He added that the temporary export halt maintains the credibility of Brazil’s inspection services.